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"Programming of concerts is sometimes viewed as being a bit too comfortable,with organizers taking a safe route with the knowable and the popular. It is a measure of the Proms’ maturity that the new and adventurous will not only entertain listeners but challenge them too. So it was when Simon Over brought to Central Square a work from Keith Burstein, a contemporary master of tonality. That it was also a world premiere performance was also a benchmark for the Proms, too.

"('Energico Nuovo', the first movement of the then-work-in-progress Symphony ‘Elixir’) certainly permitted all sections of Over’s youthful ensemble to flourish and project a sound palette that sparkled with energy. Burstein is also a master of imagery and it is a piece that sounds as if it would fit a cinematic view of a river passing through a great city - though the Thames seems to be what the composer had in mind.

"Clear and lucid writing captivated the ear and the performance was as affectionate as one could wish. There was no aural gulf between Burstein’s work and Mozart’s Linz Symphony (the next item in the programme)."

David Sonin reviewing first movement of Symphony ‘Elixir’ in Hampstead and Highgate Express, June 2006

"A dazzling, dark opera... affecting, bold, potent and packed with invention… A score that is so witty and so accessible…..Mahlerian harmonies and rhythmic patterns, a gorgeous waltz, and a cynical tango… Time and again – as in the greatest operatic works – tonal resolution and emotional closure come hand-in hand… it made me most mindful of Michael Tippett’s wonderful oratorio, 'A Child of Our Time'... Like so much great art, 'Manifest Destiny' marries the personal with the political, the particular and the universal… A simple and humanitarian message shines through unambiguously; that violence begets only violence in a cycle which must be broken as an act of human will; and that love is stronger than hatred… A brave, touching and timely work."
Scotland on Sunday 2005 on ‘Manifest Destiny’

"Nothing short of alchemy."
The Sunday Times on 'A Live Flame (in memoriam John Smith MP)', 1995

"Messianic, mystical, visionary."
Independent Magazine Profile of Burstein

"Acclaimed composer, Keith Burstein....has managed to turn his story into a play with a little help from actors Corin Redgrave and Tim Pigott-Smith."
The Independent (on ‘The Trainer’)

"Manifest Destiny is a truly important achievement: brave, exciting and committed."
actor and human rights campaigner Corin Redgrave, describing Manifest Destiny in The Independent

"Burstein's atmospheric melodious neo-classical score... with a tango for torture and a waltz for the Oval Office."
The Observer on Manifest Destiny, 2004

"Keith Burstein, one of Britain’s best known composers, foresaw the truth."
Sude Deutsche Zeitung on Manifest Destiny, 2004

"Truly amazing music... unforgettable."
Edinburgh Guide Review on Manifest Destiny, 2005

“A veritable poster child of tonal art music”
Joseph Dillon Ford of The Delian Society (on Burstein)

"Burstein is an ardent new romantic post-modernist."
The Daily Telegraph, 1994

"Prophets are, of course, famously disregarded in their own land."
Independent Magazine Profile, 1994

"Very provocative... Absolutely brilliant music... 'Manifest Destiny' is a work of enormous artistic merit.”
Nicolas Kent (Director of the Tricycle Theatre)/em>

"Operatic themes do not come more epic than this..."
The Scotsman on Manifest Destiny, 2005

"Rigorous and high-minded with a story in the environs of Greek tragedy... one admires Keith Burstein's ambition."
Daily Telegraph on Manifest Destiny, 2005

"Dignified and beautiful."
The London Evening Standard on A Live Flame (in memoriam John Smith MP), 1995

"British opera breaks new ground."
Reuters headline on Manifest Destiny, 2004

"Political, prescient and unmissable."
The Sunday Telegraph on Manifest Destiny, 2005

"The music rotates gently on an axis of largely consonant harmonies, lifting stray phrases high above the main architecture (some lovely work outs for solo trumpet)."
What's On Magazine on Eternal City, 1991

“My soul cries out"
Vanessa Redgrave, actress and human rights campaigner, interpreting Manifest Destiny's ethos in The Independent 2004

"His compositions... seem to be dreaming backwards, as buildings might dream back to their beginnings."
Misfit City music webzine on Day Release Records' CD of Burstein's piano music, 2000

"A powerful piece, powerfully performed."
British Theatre Guide on Manifest Destiny, 2005

"A witty and surprisingly melodic neo-classical score... Manifest Destiny is a considerable piece of work dealing with important themes that demands to be heard."
Sunday Herald on Manifest Destiny, 2005

"This most experimental of operas..."
Camden New Journal on Manifest Destiny, 2004

"If opera is not to tackle such issues, then what?"
Peter Sellars (renowned director/co-originator of Nixon In China, The Death of Klinghoffer) commenting on Manifest Destiny on BBC 2’s Newsnight, July 2003




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